Welfare is a government system, which gives aid, financial and otherwise, to individuals and families based upon level of need. It is intended to help people get back on their feet, but it has been criticized for breeding dependency, along with other problems. Recipients feel that the system is degrading, and taxpayers feel that it is too expensive. Welfare is a failing system that has not only been unsuccessful in its goal of ending poverty, but has also created new issues for recipients and taxpayers alike.
The “war on poverty” began half a century ago and in the past fifty years, five trillion dollars have gone towards ending it. Sadly, there is little to show for these efforts; poverty is still as prevalent of an issue today as it has ever been (“Poverty and Welfare 1). All fifty states are a part of the welfare program, but only two have successfully managed to raise families over the poverty line (Sawhill 1). Despite the improvement ...view middle of the document...
For each additional child that single mothers have, they are given more aid (Sawhill 1). Marriage rates, particularly in poor areas, have dropped, while teen pregnancies and out of wedlock childbirths have steadily risen and are among the highest rates in the developed world. The rise in single mothers has also led to a concern for the wellbeing of children in households that are receiving welfare. Despite the aid that they receive, many families, particularly ones with single parents, are still struggling. Another issue is that some families eligible to receive aid from government programs such as SNAP or Medicaid are not enrolling to receive benefits. Part of the problem is the hassle of proving eligibility and the continuous reporting of requirements. The process is time consuming and sometimes requires recipients to physically visit the welfare office (Sawhill et al 1).
Financially, the welfare system is a major burden for Americans. National debt is currently seventeen trillion, but as baby boomers reach retirement age, it is expected to increase exponentially (Spalding 1). When Social Security was first implemented in 1935, there were about forty two working citizens for every retiree, meaning taxpayers paid about 2.5% of an individual’s retirement. By 2030 however, taxpayers will be paying closer to 50%. CBO predicts that the number of taxpayer dollars going toward Medicaid will rise from 276 billion to 622 billion dollars over the next decade (Young 1). SNAP spending has increased by six percent since 2008 (Saunders 1).
The USDA estimates that eight percent of people on food stamps are using them fraudulently. These people are either ineligible or receiving more than they are supposed to. The trading of food stamps for cash is also an issue (Sawhill 1). The Republican Party is looking to cut SNAP spending, but their proposed plan still leaves the program spending at five billion more than what the Obama administration outlaid in 2010 (Saunders 1).
A federal welfare program called Pell Grants, which gives financial aid to college students, has contributed to enormous tuition inflation (Wasson 1). This is a problem that impacts both Pell Grants recipients and college students who are paying their own way through school.